Early in the off-season, the Los Angeles Dodgers declined the option on second baseman Mark Ellis’ contract. The 36-year-old infielder became a free agent and signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, the team that eliminated the Dodgers in the NLCS last season.
Ellis was made expendable by the Dodgers after they signed 27-year-old Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero to a four-year deal, who many believed was ready to start on Opening Day. In his first appearance at the Cardinals Winter Warmup, Ellis was asked about the differences between the two teams by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Oh. Night and day dissimilar. It’s not even close. Not bad either way. It’s just totally two (different teams). As far as I can tell.It just seems like different personalities. Not bad one way or the other. A little bit more flamboyance with the Dodgers. But when you’re inside that clubhouse, guys are having fun. When you’re outside the clubhouse, they’re cocky or arrogant or whatever. You look at the way the Cardinals went about it – kind of put their heads down. They’re having fun, too. But it seems like it’s a big difference.
Ellis was asked if the storyline during the NLCS about the differences between the two teams was overhyped or if there was merit to it, but also admitted he hasn’t been inside the Cardinals clubhouse yet.
With a little under three weeks until pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch, the Dodgers are searching from some insurance in case Guerrero isn’t ready to start on Opening Day. While playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic, the 27-year-old dealt with leg/hamstring issues and didn’t get the necessary reps the Dodgers would’ve liked.
The uncertainty surrounding Guerrero has Dodger fans wondering why they declined the option on Ellis in the first place. Thus, GM Ned Colletti is looking at the rather thin infield market and the team has been linked to veteran infielders Michael Young and Chone Figgins.
It’ll be interesting to see if anything is made of Ellis’ comments as the Dodgers prided themselves as having a fun and tight clubhouse last season.
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